California Past – Post Columbian California History Reading and Study Group
Welcome to California Past – A friendly and respectful reading and study group about California History and Heritage
- Click Here To Read our Complete California History Reading List
- Click Here To Read How To Meaningfully Participate In Our Study Group
Great California History Resources
Support your local and regional historical societies
- California Historical Society
- Los Angeles Historical Society
- San Diego History Center (formerly San Diego Historical Society)
- San Francisco Museum and Historical Society
- California History Center – DeAnza College
Our Current Study and Reading
We will soon begin our first book, Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz
Dr. Ruiz is the Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies, History, School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Cannery Women, Cannery lives received the National Women’s Political Caucus Distinguished Achievement Award. Dr. Ruiz was also president of the American Historical Association for 2015.
More Information about the Author and Book
- Faculty Profile for Dr. Ruiz at UCI
- Interview with Vicki Ruiz, Chicano/Latino Studies and History Distinguished Professor, UC Irvine
- Biography for Vicki L. Ruiz on the American Historical Association
- A History of Their Own: A Conversation with Vicki L. Ruiz
- AHA 2016 Annual Meeting – Vicki Ruiz Presidential Address
“Becoming Mexican American” by George J. Sanchez is an excellent companion to this volume and will be our second book.
Women have been the mainstay of the grueling, seasonal canning industry for over a century. This book is their collective biography�a history of their family and work lives, and of their union. Out of the labor militancy of the 1930s emerged the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA). Quickly it became the seventh largest CIO affiliate and a rare success story of women in unions.
Thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American women working in canneries in southern California established effective, democratic trade union locals run by local members. These rank-and-file activists skillfully managed union affairs, including negotiating such benefits as maternity leave, company-provided day care, and paid vacations�in some cases better benefits than they enjoy today. But by 1951, UCAPAWA lay in ruins�a victim of red baiting in the McCarthy era and of brutal takeover tactics by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.